The original 1919 Broken Hill Railway station, constructed in precast drop panel concrete and gabled roof, is currently under partial repair.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is removing the asbestos from the gable roof and installing new battens and gable sheeting.
Rail Heritage enthusiast Brian Leedham who started the Facebook page ‘The Real-Save the 1919 Broken Hill Railway Station Precinct’ said that it is hugely positive to see ARTC are restoring the asbestos and slate tile roof.
“They have removed it, which means a community group has more chance of actually restoring the building once it’s finished.”
“Once the roof is done, it needs to be made secure. I am not sure if they want a community group to make it secure or whether they are prepared to make it secure,” he said.
“It’s a situation where you have to negotiate with the persons that lease it or own it to find out what they are prepared to do.”
Mr Leedham, who lives 1,300km away in Wauchope, has been involved in restoring rail cars and railway stations as a volunteer since 2001. He said that he has a huge interest in stations like the one in Broken Hill getting saved and restored.
“Saying it and doing it are two different things.
“The plan is to get a community group up and operating and organise them so that they can have a small museum, a small café and some railway memorabilia on display,” he said.
“There seem to be plenty of people involved on the Facebook page that have an interest. We just need to get seven-to-eight people involved in a committee so that it can get off the ground.
Mr Leedham said that once the roof is finished, the biggest challenge will be getting the community group organised to lead the full restoration and setting up the museum.
“The Facebook page is basically to let people know that there is something happening and it’s also there to get people to talk to each other to find out if they are actually interested in forming a community group. That is the biggest hurdle.”
“One of ARTC’s conditions is that there needs to be a community group set up so that they can run it themselves and not rely on ARTC or the NSW government.”
Whilst the ARTC are restoring the roof, the building Mr Leedham said is also in need of restoration before it will look “half decent.”
“A paintbrush and a clean-up could fix it fairly quickly. It would be nice to save it from its current position so that it doesn’t deteriorate any more,” he said.
“If it was successful and you were able to go there for a cup of coffee and look at the memorabilia, it would attract people to Broken Hill.”